Celtics' Green sinks winner against Heat at buzzer
MIAMI -- It didn't have all the same players involved, but the Heat-Celtics rivalry proved it can still make for quite a game.
Forward Jeff Green hit a buzzer-beating, fall-away 3-pointer over LeBron James as the Boston Celtics stunned the Miami Heat 111-110 on Saturday night at American Airlines Arena.
"I was in the first row because I faded back so far," Green said. "I ended up on some lady's lap, but I saw it when it went through."
While James said before the game that the matchup was no longer a rivalry without former Celtics coach Doc Rivers and forwards Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Boston won its third in a row after starting the season 0-4.
Green, who scored 43 points in a loss to Miami last season, seems to have a knack for stepping up to the challenge when facing the Heat.
"They are the best team. They won back-to-back championships," Green said. "You got to get up playing these guys."
Green led the Celtics with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field.
James hit two free throws with three seconds left to turn the Heat's two-point lead into a two-possession game that appeared to ice the game against the young, scrappy Celtics.
But forward Gerald Wallace scored on a layup to cut the lead to 110-108 with 1.6 seconds left. Wallace fouled Dwyane Wade, who missed one free throw and then intentionally missed the second.
"Just 0.6 left, I was trying to hit the rim, but it didn't go as planned," Wade said.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, "That clearly did not work."
Rookie Celtics coach Brad Stevens benefited from an NBA rule that would not have worked in his favor last season at Butler -- the opportunity to advance the ball to midcourt on a late timeout.
"In college basketball, that game would be over because you have to go the length of the court in .6 seconds; that is almost impossible," he said. "In this, you have a chance to catch it facing the basket and shoot with .4 seconds or more."
Wallace made the cross-court inbounds pass and rookie center Kelly Olynyk set the pick that freed Green.
Guards Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford scored 17 and 15 points, respectively, and forward Jared Sullinger pitched in 12 for Boston.
James played through a sore back and finished two rebounds short of a triple-double with 25 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. James scored 11 in the fourth quarter as the Heat constantly went to him late.
Forward/center Chris Bosh scored 20 points and Wade had 18.
Green ranked his buzzer-beater as the No. 2 moment in his career, with No. 1 being the driving layup he made as time expired against the Cleveland Cavaliers last March because his heart surgeon was able to witness it.
Miami was outrebounded 39-31 and beaten off the dribble and surrendered driving lanes to the basket and open shots.
"This game has always had ... an energy and a karma about it, and we did too many things where we did not deserve to win that game," Spoelstra said.
Forward Michael Beasley found ways to score against Celtics forward Kris Humphries early. The Heat forward had the Miami crowd frenzied in the second quarter when he scored all 10 of his points in just his second game since his return this season to the organization that drafted him No. 2 overall in 2008.
Beasley was one of three Heat players -- along with James and Bosh -- to score in double figures in the first half. He did not play in the second half.
"In the second half, I really just didn't feel that we had to force a 10-man rotation," Spoelstra said.
Like Beasley, point guard Mario Chalmers and center Chris Andersen each added 10 points.
Crawford scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send the Celtics up 60-59 at halftime.
- - - - - -
NOTES: Despite being bedridden all day with soreness in his lower back, James started in his normal role. "I got out (of) bed twice today," James said. ... The Celtics came to Miami to play on the second night of a back-to-back after winning 91-89 in Orlando on Friday. ... Miami PG Mario Chalmers was fined $15,000 by the NBA for his hit on Blake Griffin in Thursday's 102-97 win against the Clippers ... Olynyk got his first career start after Brazilian C Vitor Faverani started the Celtics' first six games.